Observers now commonly assert that multiparty elections are institutionalized as a standard feature of African politics (Posner & Young, 2007; Bratton, 2013; Cheeseman, 2018; Bleck & van de Walle, 2019). By this they mean that competitive electoral contests are the most commonplace procedure for choosing and changing political leaders across the continent.
In a democracy, citizens delegate powers to individuals and political parties charged with building and maintaining institutions that will ensure the people’s well-being. In this arrangement, trust is one of the most important ingredients in the legitimacy and sustainability of political systems (Blind, 2006).
Protection of individual rights and liberties has been on both the African continental agenda and the global agenda for decades, shaped especially by the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. But the reality on the ground is often a far cry from the high standards set forth in these documents.
Le Togo a modernisé ces dernières années plusieurs de ces textes de lois et pris plusieurs initiatives pour la promotion de l’égalité genre dans le pays.
After the Constitutional Court upheld the election results of 30 July 2018, Zimbabwe’s leading opposition party ended its online public response with the following message to newly confirmed President Emmerson Mnangagwa: “You can rig the elections. You can capture ZEC [Zimbabwe Electoral Commission]. You can capture [the] judiciary. But you will never capture the people. Their will shall prevail. The people shall govern!” (Movement for Democratic Change, 2018).
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La mobilisation des ressources à travers la collecte des impôts et taxes est l’un des moyens pouvant permettre à une nation de renforcer sa capacité financière et améliorer la fourniture des biens et services publics pour le bien-être de la population. Cependant, les pays en voie de développement, qui ont un besoin énorme en termes de fourniture des biens et services publics, présentent une faible capacité à mobiliser les taxes (Besley & Persson, 2014).
For a moment, Zimbabwe’s July 30, 2018, elections seemed to promise relief from a traumatic political past. An aging autocrat had been deposed and his successor intoned pledges of “a new dispensation.” A dormant opposition movement began to reawaken to opportunities for open political campaigning. At home and abroad, Zimbabwe’s well-wishers allowed themselves a cautious hope that change was finally afoot. But change was not to be.
Another disputed election
Decentralization occurs when resources, power, and tasks are delegated to local-level governance structures that are democratic and largely independent of central government (Manor, 1999). Decentralization can thus be an important vehicle for ensuring that sustainable development policies and programs are implemented at the local level and bring socio-economic relief to the grass roots.
Zimbabweans will go to the polls in presidential, parliamentary, and local government elections on July 30, 2018. These elections are the first test of the popular will since the dramatic military intervention of November 2017 that forced an end to the 37-year reign of Robert Mugabe.
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Le présent rapport traite des questions portant sur les plus importants problèmes auxquels le Mali fait face et auxquels le gouvernement devrait s'attaquer. Il traite successivement de ces problèmes tels que révélés par les citoyens dans l'enquête Afrobaromètre de 2017 au Mali, des domaines de développement que recouvrent ces problèmes, et enfin des Objectifs de Développement Durable (ODD) qui peuvent en être tirés, objectifs correspondant à ceux de Nations Unies à l'horizon 2030.
Faced with the disappointing performance of centralized systems, many African states opted for decentralization in the 1990s in a bid to ensure that their citizens receive quality services (Anago, 2009). In theory, decentralization involves withdrawing some powers from the central state and transferring them to elected bodies at the local level. This introduced the concept of local governance, whose practical implementation supposes that all actors understand the institutional framework within which they function as well as their roles, responsibilities, and room for maneuver.
Parliament of Uganda. Photo by Nicolas Bamulanzeki, photo journalist at Observer weekly newspaper, [email protected])
In any economy, balancing expenditures, revenues, and debts is a delicate and often politicized task. Competing interests and priorities buffet those tasked with planning a viable and stable national budget. For any state, taxes raised from individuals and businesses are a central plinth supporting the provision of services, the maintenance of infrastructure, the employment of civil servants, and the smooth functioning of the state.
Corruption is a major obstacle to economic growth, human development, and poverty reduction (Mauro, 1995, 2004; Asiedu, 2006). The practice of demanding or expecting monetary or other benefits in exchange for preferential treatment has plagued the global South, and high-profile revelations of corruption in politics and business have shed light on the magnitude of the problem (Baker, 2016; McCool, 2015).
The August 2016 local government elections in South Africa sent an earthquake through the political class when the African National Congress (ANC) lost power in three major cities of the country. Coalition governments led by the Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) took over the economic powerhouse, Johannesburg; the administrative capital and seat of the Presidency, Pretoria; and the biggest city in the Eastern Cape and the country’s vehicle-manufacturing hub, Nelson Mandela Bay.
In contrast to sub-Saharan Africa, where many countries experienced political liberalization during the late 1980s and early 1990s (Bratton, 1997), the authoritarian regimes of North Africa were largely able to resist popular demands for transformation by introducing limited, topdown reforms. In Tunisia, there were some improvements to political freedoms after Zine El Abidine Ben Ali took office in 1988 and was elected as president the following year in the country’s first election since 1972 (Abushouk, 2016).
Access to justice for all citizens has long been recognized as a cornerstone of democracy, good governance, and effective and equitable development. Its centrality has recently been highlighted in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 16 (SDG16), which calls for all societies to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels” (United Nations, 2016).
Following decades of authoritarian rule, multiparty democracy re-emerged in a “wave” of democratization in sub-Saharan Africa during the early 1990s. Twenty-nine countries in the region held founding elections – first competitive elections after an authoritarian period – between 1989 and 1994, of which 16 led to full democratic transitions (Bratton, 1997). Notable successes include Namibia (1989), Cape Verde (1991), Ghana (1992), and South Africa (1994), which a generation later are ranked among Africa’s politically “free” countries (Freedom House, 2016).
In many parts of Africa, access to and quality of medical services remain poor (Deaton & Tortora, 2015; KPMG, 2012; Lowell, Conway, Keesmaat, McKenna, & Richardson, 2010; Streefland, 2005). While economic growth in recent decades has fostered improved health care on the continent, weak funding, brain drain of trained professionals, and ongoing battles with diseases such as TB, HIV, diarrheal diseases, and malaria as well as recurring epidemics such as Ebola continue to put immense pressure on medical systems in many countries (Ighobor, 2015; McKay, 2015; Chothia, 2014).
Judging by media headlines, democracy appears to be under stress everywhere from leaders like Vladimir Putin in Russia, Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey, and Yoweri Museveni in Uganda. Yet social scientists know there is often a mismatch between what can be gleaned from news reports or social media and real, underlying trends. To take just one example, media attention to wars in Syria and Iraq suggests rising conflict around the world.
Nothing kindles democracy’s energies, anxieties, hopes, and frustrations like an election. The quality of an election can spell the difference between a cooking fire and an explosion.
If a successful election can calm and focus a nation (e.g. Namibia 2015), a disputed election can tear it apart (e.g. Burundi 2015, Côte d'Ivoire 2010, Kenya 2008).
African Youth Charter outlines young citizens’ rights and responsibilities, affirming that “youth are partners, assets and a prerequisite for sustainable development and for the peace and prosperity of Africa” (African Union, 2006, p. 2). Article 11 of the charter gives every young citizen “the right to participate in all spheres of society” and mandates that states encourage youth activism and ensure gender equity in political representation and participation (p. 6). Among responsibilities, the charter cites full participation in civic duties such as voting in elections and volunteering.
On 30 September 2016, Botswana will mark its 50th year of independence from the United Kingdom, a significant occasion for both celebration and reflection. An important part of this reflection has focused on Botswana’s transition from National Vision 2016, the blueprint that has guided the country’s development for the past two decades, to National Vision 2036, in tandem with the global move from the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals to Sustainable Development Goals (Ministry of Finance and Development Planning, 2016a).
Over the past two decades, the threat posed by violent extremist groups that espouse fundamentalist religious narratives has grown substantially across Africa (Hallowanger, 2014). The colonial era and the undemocratic rule that characterized many post-independence governments generated anti-Western and jihadist movements across the Middle East and the wider Islamic world (Moore, 2016). These movements advocate conservative religious rule as a cure for modern societies’ social ills.
Access to health care gained the spotlight on national and international development agendas when the 1978 Alma Ata Declaration outlined a strategy for achieving universal access to primary health care by the year 2000 (World Health Organization, 1978). The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set targets for improving health-care delivery by 2015, and the United Nations’ new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which took effect in January 2016, extend and supplement those with ambitious targets aimed at ensuring healthy lives for all.
Botswana is Africa’s oldest continuous democracy, having enjoyed decades of peaceful multipartyism since independence in 1966. However, this success is tempered by growing concerns that the country’s remarkable stability has come at the cost of further political development. Significant weaknesses in Botswana’s democracy include low civic participation, relatively weak opposition and civil society sectors, and a lack of incumbent turnover in 11 consecutive free and fair elections.